FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – If you think a family member is a danger to either themselves or someone else, there are resources in Fresno County to get them the help they need.
Experts say the process should begin with a conversation to help them talk about their mental health. According to Ahmad Bahrami with the Fresno County Department of Behavioural Health, starting a conversation accusing the family member is not going to lead to them opening up. Instead, be open with them and try to understand what they might be going through.
“Also, making sure that one is not stigmatizing with the words they use,” said Bahrami. “We don’t want to treat someone poorly because they may be experiencing a mental health challenge.”
The next step is getting the family member some help. Bahrami says the stigma surrounding mental health is one of the barriers to getting help and accessing care. Instead, consider getting treatment for mental health in the same way as any other treating any other illness.
“A change in mindset that mental health is health,” said Bahrami. “And if you have a possible mental illness then working with your doctor, or a therapist, counselor, etc. is to get you back to having your health.”
Bahrami suggests Fresno County’s 24/7 mental health access line as a possible first step. The number is 800-654-3937.
However, if there is an imminent danger then the advice is to call 911 and advise the person answering the call that a mental health crisis is underway.
Many Fresno County residents may have their own private health insurance which may provide mental health services. Contacting the health insurance provider can help find the mental health services covered on that plan – but Bahrami says that process can be cumbersome.
“Working to help navigate the system for those insured would be a big step in helping increase timely access. Being able to communicate one’s concerns to a professional is important, and being able to reach that professional is important.”